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Éclairs Front and Centre on Windsor’s Afternoon Tea Plates; Hotel Leads the Latest Sweet Treats Trend

September 7, 2013 Lifestyle No Comments Email Email

Delicate and delicious éclairs are now on the Windsor hotel’s fine china afternoon tea plates.  

The hotel’s eight strong team of pastry chefs are leading the latest sweet-treat trend currently sweeping Paris and London and now taking off in Melbourne.

535963 “Macaroons and cupcakes have had their day,” Windsor hotel CEO David Perry said. “The éclair is the sexy pastry of the moment. And frankly, a quality éclair takes far, far more precision and flair in the kitchen than a cupcake.”

From September 9 miniature éclairs will feature on the Windsor’s midweek traditional three-tiered afternoon tea stand. From September 7 the weekend buffet table will feature platters of the crisp, feather-light choux pastries, covered and filled with creams and ganaches, limited only by the imagination of executive pastry chef Gette Eliso.

The current midweek selection offers a lamington éclair with fresh coconut purée and raspberries and a caramel éclair with salted caramel ganache and caramelised hazelnut topping.  On weekends guests will be treated to a lemon éclair with Italian meringue, a hazelnut praline cream éclair, the caramel éclair and, of course, the very classic Parisian chocolate éclair with Belgium chocolate cream and ganache.  Ingredients such as the chocolates, nuts, creams and fruits are sourced from the best local and overseas producers the hotel can find.

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All up, the hotel’s pastry kitchen is now literally churning out over 1000 hand piped éclairs a week, with no two pastries presenting exactly the same – a challenge relished by the executive pastry chef.

“An éclair seems such a simple thing” Gette Eliso said, “but everything must be absolutely perfect to achieve the right tastes and textures.  Choux pastry ingredients must be measured exactly and the pastries must be baked for an absolutely precise amount of time, not 30 seconds more or less, to achieve that light, airy, crisp texture that people love.  As for the fillings and toppings they must have the right density and contrasts but there is really no limit to the combination of flavours and that is the fun part. ”

In London, éclairs are undergoing a major reinvention. With leading food stores now offering specialist éclair lines, éclairs on the dessert menus at popular restaurants and new éclair cookbooks on the market, sales of the pastry are said to be up 23 per cent in just the first half of this year.

In France, where the éclair originated in the 19th century, it has been voted the nation’s most popular cake and there is even an annual “éclair weekend” held every September.  Now specialty éclair boutiques and bakeries are opening to cater to the ever growing demand, with some reported to be selling more than a 1,000 of the pastries every day.

“The Windsor is Australia’s leading afternoon tea venue and has been since we opened our doors in 1883,” Mr Perry said. “So it’s only fitting we’re going to lead the éclair renaissance with new exciting creations here.  Éclairs are the latest decadent, delicious addition to the afternoon tea menu and represent pastry-making at its creative best.”

The Windsor offers two afternoon tea sittings seven days a week, at 12 noon and 2.30 pm. The cost for midweek afternoon teas is $59 and $79 for weekends. Bookings are essential for weekends.  For reservations call 03 9633 6004 or email reservations@thw.com.au. Additional information about the hotel’s famous afternoon teas can be found at www.thehotelwindsor.com.au

The Windsor is celebrating its 130th anniversary this year.  Built in 1883, the 180-room hotel predates the Savoy in London, which was built in 1889, the Waldorf Astoria in New York which dates back to 1893, and the Ritz Paris which opened in 1898.

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